Ireland facing into a ‘perfect storm’ of economic unrest following Trump victory and Brexit result

Ireland is facing into a “perfect storm” of economic unrest as a direct result of the fallout from Donald Trump’s election as US president and last summer’s Brexit referendum, it has been claimed.
Ireland facing into a ‘perfect storm’ of economic unrest following Trump victory and Brexit result

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin issued the warning amid growing unease over US plans to slash corporate tax rates in a bid to lure some of the 700 Irish-based companies back to America and ongoing concern over the potential Brexit impact.

Speaking as Finance Minister Michael Noonan began a week-long trip to Washington DC and Silicon Valley in California to hold high-level talks with the US treasury, IMF, World Bank and leading Irish-based firms, Mr Martin said the reality is the world economic market has now changed.

While saying now is not the time to panic, he argued Ireland must become “hard-headed” in its attempts to compete with other nations, adding that if the country does not act quickly Ireland will be facing a “perfect storm” of financial unrest.

“Ireland as a country depends on trade, we depend on a liberal trade environment across the world, we sell most of what we make here, and an isolationist-type approach in America will not help Ireland, a protectionist approach will not help.

Michael Noonan
Michael Noonan

“The [US] taxation issue is a serious issue, there’s no point pretending it isn’t. They’re quite entitled to reduce their tax rates, they’re talking about bringing it down to 15%, Britain is talking about 20%.

“When you take that and throw in Brexit, I think we have a perfect storm coming our way which means we need to re-assess our industrial strategy and prepare,” Mr Martin told RTE Radio’s Today with Sean O Rourke programme.

The Fianna Fáil leader said that while there has been evidence of “some moderation” from Mr Trump since his election last week, he still believes the new US president will “follow through on his instincts” on world financial matters.

He said this is likely to include a “negative” approach to free trade agreements such as NAFTA and TTIP which Mr Martin said, alongside the likelihood of Britain following suit when it leaves the EU, should be of “particular concern” for this country and other open economies.

The comments came as Transport Minister Shane Ross admitted Ireland is facing a “very uncertain” economic future over the same issues and the reality is “we don’t know what’s going to happen”.

“The situation is very uncertain at the moment and we don’t know what’s going to happen. Donald Trump has made soundings which would be difficult for Ireland if he carries out what he says he will do.

“Michael Noonan, I think, is absolutely right to be out in the US today re-assuring the multinationals it is a great country to come to, it is a wonderful country to be in. We’ve got to indulge ourselves, to go ahead with a diplomatic initiative to make sure companies don’t move.

“It [the economic situation] is uncertain, but I don’t think it’s in any way a critical situation for us. I’m confident they [companies] will come and stay and keep coming. But at the moment Donald Trump is making the sort of noises that merit a response,” he said.

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